Northern Ireland firm must pay £33m over pork scare
A Northern Ireland business has been ordered to pay more than £30m in damages to an Irish company after oil it supplied caused a pork contamination scare.
The High Court in Dublin ordered O’Neill Fuels Ltd, Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, to pay €38.7m (£32.9m) to Millstream Power Recycling Ltd, Bunclody, Co. Wexford. It was claimed that the company supplied tainted oil which then went into animal feed.
All Irish pork had to be taken off the shelves in 2008 throughout Europe and in other worldwide markets when it was found that meat had been contaminated. It was estimated that the scare caused €180m (£153m) in losses for producers.
The pork was recalled when levels of dioxins were detected in pig meat at levels which were between 80 and 100 times over the the recognised safety limit.
Toxic substances including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were later found in biscuit feed meal for pigs and cattle.
The oil Millstream used for manufacturing animal feed had not been tested for dioxins such as PCBs because these had been banned in the 1970s, the company said.
O'Neill Fuels — which supplied the oil to Newtown Lodge Ltd in Dublin, who then sold the product on to Millstream — denied that any fuel supplied by it contained PCBs.
In the High Court in Dublin earlier this month the judge struck out the case as O'Neill Fuels had not entered a defence. The court also heard O’Neill’s had ceased trading and may have limited assets.
But on Monday the company was found guilty of supplying contaminated products and was ordered to pay damages.
Speaking after the damages were awarded, Millstream director Doreen Hogg said her family felt relieved that they had been vindicated.
“We are delighted with the outcome and the judgment after what have been two very difficult years,” she said